LNG terminal operator, Fluxys Belgium’s net profit rose by more than 15% to €36.6 mill, versus €31.4 mill in the first six months of 2019.
The increase came in a market little affected by Covid-19 pandemic impacts, as the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal saw record traffic. There was also keen interest for additional send-out capacity.
Fluxys said its regulated turnover increased 8.5% to €275.8 mill, compared with €253.9 mill in 1H19.
“The increase in regulated turnover and net profit is mainly due to the commissioning of the fifth storage tank for transhipment services in Zeebrugge in late 2019 and is in accordance with the tariff methodology and the associated authorised manageable costs and incentives,” the company explained.
Zeebrugge and a NOVATEK Yamal LNG subsidiary, have a 20-year agreement to operate up to 107 transhipments per year through the Belgian facility, using Arc7s from Sabetta and conventional LNGCs, which lift the cargoes for export.
“Despite the widespread impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, all of Fluxys Belgium's essential services remained operational and the company focused fully on its vital role towards society and its customers,” the company added.
The number of ships berthing at the Zeebrugge LNG terminal doubled, compared with 1H19 with 39 vessels being handled, another 75 arrived for transhipments and two to load LNG.
“March 2020 was the busiest ever month for ship traffic at the terminal, with a total of 30 vessels docking, more than double the previous record in May 2019,” said Fluxys.
During the first half of this year, the terminal sent out around 11% more natural gas into the transmission system than in the same period of 2019.
“LNG-trailer traffic for truck-loading was also up by around 11%, with almost 1,550 LNG trucks being loaded,” it confirmed, adding; “Responding to market signals, the Zeebrugge LNG terminal conducted a non-binding consultation over the summer to gauge demand for additional send-out capacity.”
“This revealed a positive interest in additional capacity from 2024 onwards, and a binding market consultation will therefore be held later in 2020,” Fluxys said.
The LNG success was offset by declines in natural gas transmission volumes.
In addition, Fluxys offers a wide range of arbitrage and trading on the Zeebrugge Trading Point natural gas market. However, the volumes transported in the network were lower than seen in the first half of 2019.